A transformative initiative supporting the Koraga people and nine other tribal communities in Karnataka to access land was recently named a Gold Award Winner in this year’s World Habitat Awards. Working in partnership with Samagra Grameena Ashrama and the Koraga Federation (a formation which we together helped advance), ActionAid Association’s initiative, ‘Restoration of Dignity and Human Rights of Indigenous Tribal Community in Karnataka’, has helped secure nearly 49,000 acres of forest land and 1,000 acres of agricultural land for tribal communities. Besides, 19,000 families have obtained grants to build houses. Securing land rights has acted as a foundation for the Koraga community to rebuild their lives.
Gowri (seen in the photo with her husband), who is now the owner of an acre of agricultural land, says, “Before land was allotted to us, I used to work as a labourer in the houses of upper caste people. We were treated as untouchables. We were doing long hours of work; it was a painful struggle of life. Now, we have obtained homestead land and have constructed a decent house which depicts our dignified living. Land is a breakthrough in my life to come out of the oppression. Now I am self-reliant!” Furthermore, a state-sponsored nutrition programme has improved food security and health among the Koraga community, and now more children attend school and have access to scholarships.
The Koraga tribal community has suffered centuries of oppression under India’s historic caste system. Through its community-led approach, ActionAid Association, together with its allies, has been working towards empowering marginalized tribal groups to access their basic human rights, restore their dignity and transform their lives for generations to come. To read more, click here.
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